Do you need, desire or crave a new challenge? Are you open to sharing your dark side? Then read on.
Do you have a dark side?
Or, think you may have one. Or indeed worry that you might have one. Or, for that matter, worry that you don’t and would like one? If so, join me here each week for dark | side | thursday.
Over a period of 52 weeks, I am writing a story. A dark story that will unfold as the weeks pass. Each Thursday, at 13:00 UTC, I will post a new chapter. Each chapter will be exactly 500 words long, and will be accompanied by a photograph. You can catch up on the story so far by clicking here on dark | side | thursday
Share your dark side?
I invite you to join me either by writing your own dark story, week by week, or, if that is too much, by dropping by, now and then, perhaps when the mood suits you or, perhaps, when it doesn’t, and by sharing a photograph, poem or a suitably dark piece of prose. To cross over to dark | side | thursday create your post, tag it dark side thursday and link to it by clicking on the dark | side | thursday badge below, where you can also find all the contributions so far. Or you can simply share your link in the comments section of my weekly post. And, should the mood take you, you can add the badge to your post.
dark | side | thursday | twenty
As the helmet tightened around his head he felt light-headed for a moment. He could hear a low hissing sound as air circulated inside the transparent bubble that encased him. And yet, still he sensed a whisper of warm spring air, although somewhere deeper a chill permeated his body. He shivered.
The ground beneath his feet was unforgiving, hard grey stone cobbles lined the large square. He slowly turned his head, taking in his new surroundings. The square sloped gently downhill, at its centre a large building with a tall tower, at the base of the tower, an ornate clock stood marking the passage of time, strange figures marching to its unearthly beat. Impassive faces, contorted figures, bodies bent out of shape.
Surrounding the square stood rows of ornate buildings, their facades brightly coloured, yellow, pink, orange. Empty windows gazing across an equally empty space.
And, that is when he realised.
He was alone.
The large square was empty. The sun was high in the sky. And yet, the terraces, the tables, the bars and cafes that were scattered around and across the square were empty. Quiet. Lifeless.
There was no sound, only the hissing susurration of the air inside his helmet.
At his feet, the creature. It looked up at him, large sparkling blue eyes. Left eye slightly closed, blinking as if if something had irritated it. The creature snaked around his ankles and then darted away across the square.
It ran towards the pillar that rose from the lower part of the square. A dark structure, rising up to the blue sky, at its base stone carved bodies twisted in pain struggled to be free from some terror, a pit of despair.
And still, there was silence. Not a movement. Not a sound.
The creature had stopped at the base of the pillar, an iron door, sealed tight, blocked its path.
Sliding his hand in his pocket he once more found the key, the same key he had last used when he opened the casket, the casket that had contained her lifeless body.
Once more he felt the key slide deep into the oiled slot in the door, felt it vibrate as it turned, felt the mechanism groan as it responded, and opened.
He reached out and pushed the door inwards, the creature shot through the crack as it widened, a dark mewling sound spilling from its throat, its tail still, tense.
The air inside his bubble turned colder, the hissing intensified. Ahead of him a stone staircase ascended, the steps worn and marked with the years. The walls dark, dripping.
He stepped on to the first step, and began to ascend.
The staircase spiralled around the inside of the pillar. There were no windows.
Exhausted, he reached the summit.
A circular chamber, and there, once more stood the stone faceless figure.
As he gazed at the impassive face, the creature at his feet.
He heard the figure’s voice. Inside his mind.
The portal to dark | side | thursday opened on the twenty first day of may in the year twenty hundred and fifteen and will remain open for fifty two weeks.
twenty | fiftytwo